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February 28, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-28

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, February 28, 2014 -- 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, February 28, 2014 -7

'M' with chance to control destiny

Daily Sports Writer
When sophomore forward
Glenn Robinson III's shot fell
at the buzzer against Purdue on
Wednesday night, it meant that
the Michigan men's basketball
team would escape West
Lafayette unharmed, still in
control of its
own destiny Minnesota
in the Big Ten. at Michigan
Three more
wins, and Matchup:
for the first Minnesota
time since M n211 n
the 1985-86 Michigan 20-7
season, the When:
16th-ranked Saturday
Wolverines 6P.M.
will be Where: Crisler
outright Center
conference TV/Radio:
champions. BTN
The road
to the title
seemed easy after Michigan
(12-3 Big Ten, 20-7 overall) ran
past Michigan State at home
on Sunday. After that win, the
Wolverines had four games left
against Purdue, Minnesota,
Illinois and Indiana - all
teams in the bottom half of the
conference - and it seemed they
could coast to the conference
After the win over the
Spartans, Michigan coach John
Beilein stressed that there was
still a lot of basketball left to
play, and that the next four
games would be as challenging
as any. But after taking care
of Michigan State - widely
predicted to win the Big Ten at
the beginning of the season -
many thought that the next four
games would be soft obstacles
in the way of the Wolverines
collecting a banner.
But as Robinson's shot sat
on top of the rim for a moment
at Mackey Arena, it looked as
though Michigan had blown its
chances of controlling its own
fate against a Boilermaker team
with just five conference wins.
But as the clock hit zero, the ball
fell through and Michigan was
one step closer to its goal.
"You gotta have these (close
games)," Beilein said. "This is

The other Pitino:
Minnesota's Rich

Michigan coach John Beilein will try to keep his team from resting on its laurels when Michigan welcomes Minnesota.

the way it's gonna be. I mean,
this is it. We just gotta embrace
it, and say we're gonna work
hard for everything."
On Saturday, Minnesota
will attempt to do what Purdue
couldn't - upset the Wolverines
and stymie their chances of
owning the conference title by
themselves. The Gophers (7-9,
18-11) nearly
did it in early
January when
they hosted "W e'r
Michigan in
Minneapolis. work I
In that contest,
Minnesota every
missed a
3-pointer at -
the buzzer
that would've sent the game to
overtime, giving the Wolverines
a 63-60 win.
But that was two months
ago, and that was a different
Wolverine team, just coming to
terms with losing sophomore
forward Mitch McGary, likely
for the entire season. It hadn't
quite figured out how to get

enough scoring from everybody
else to make up for his absence.
An unlikely hero, sophomore
guard Zak Irvin, saved the team
with two clutch 3-pointers late
in the game and led Michigan
with 15 points that night.
When the Gophers come
to Crisler Center on Saturday
they'll be greeted by a very
- one that
e gonna has learned
to count
hard for on a trio of
thing." in Robinson,
and guards
Caris LeVert
and Nik
Stauskas for scoring, and not so
much depend on a big man in the
In the first matchup between
the two teams - the Wolverines'
first Big Ten game of the season
- the sophomore threesome
took just 19 shots. They were still
adjusting to their new roles and
the team's reliance on them to

be the focal point of the offense.
In contrast, against Purdue on
Wednesday, the three combined
for 41 shots, each obviously
much more comfortable in his
role asa scorer.
Minnesota is led by guards
Andre Hollins and DeAndre
Mathieu, who have averaged
14.8 and 12.9 points per game
this season, respectively.
Mathieu, a 5-foot-9 guard,
shoots better than 50 percent
from the field and is one of just
two players who has started
every game this season for the
Gophers. But the problem for
Minnesota is that its scoring
defense, the ninth-best in the
conference, gives up 67.9 points
on average.
Michigan's game against
Purdue proved that in the Big
Ten, records can be thrown
away once the game starts. Any
night can belong to any team.
But on Saturday, playing on its
home court, it's hard to imagine
that Michigan doesn't walk
away a winner, one game closer
to a conference title.

Daily Sports Writer
While the No. 16 Michigan
men's basketball team (12-3 Big
Ten, 20-7 overall) sits in the driv-
er's seat ofthe Big Ten, right in the
middle of the pack is Minnesota
(7-9, 18-11). Coming off of a win
against No. 20 Iowa, the Golden
Gophers stand within striking
distance of an NCAA Tourna-
ment bid. Behind the bench of
the bubble team is first-year head
coach Richard Pitino.
Daily sat
down with
Pitino at E
Media Day
in Octo-
ber to talk
about his father - Louisville
coach Rick Pitino - almost com-
ing to Michigan, the wintry con-
ditions of Minnesota and why he
left his father's coaching staff to
venture out on his own.
The Michigan Daily: It's
your first year at Minnesota.
Coming from Florida Interna-
tional, have you experienced the
coldness of Minnesota as of yet?
Richard Pitino: Not yet. But
I went to high school in Boston,
went to college in Rhode Island,
so I'm kind of used to that cold
winter weather. What's great for
me, honestly, the weather's phe-
nomenal and it starts to get colder
whenthe season starts.Andthat's
when I'm like a zombie walking
around during the season so I
don't pay much attention to that.
TMD: Back in the early
2000's, your father (Rick Pitino)
almost took the job at Michigan.
Do you remember that at all?
RP: I was in college, and I
remember it like it was yesterday.
I was on springbreak inthe Baha-
mas and my dad told me he was
taking Michigan. And I remem-
ber I was at a craps table and I
was with my friends, and all of a
sudden I look up and see 'hey it's
your dad' and it's got a Cardinal
bird underneath and I go 'what

the heck is that?' That's how I
learned that we were moving to
Louisville and not Michigan. It
was an amazing story.
TMD: Were you happy with
that decision? What was really
your opinion at the time?
RP: I was shocked, just
because we've grown up at the
University of Kentucky and I
didn't want anythingto be taken
away from his success. I didn't
want anyone to feel as if, you
know, what he did there in the
eight years may be a little differ-
ent now that he's the head coach
at Louisville. So at first, I waa
a little nervous about it, but it's
turned out to be a great decision.
He loves it there, certainly.
TMD: Michigan played Lou-
isville in the NCAA Champion-
ship game last year. And you're
in the Big Ten now, did your
father give you any advice about
Michigan up to this point?
RP: No. We haven't even
talked about Michigan. That
feels like it's years away, the
Michigan game. What I'm wor-
ried about more than anything
is practice, getting these guys
TMD: Was it better for you
to leave Louisville when you did
to go to Florida and learn from
Billy Donovan?
RP: I think the best part,
more than anything, was to go
and work for another Hall of
Famer. That's an opportunity
that impacted my life great-
ly. Everyone says 'Oh, you're
Rick Pitino's son.' If you actu-
ally watch the way that we play
and the way that we do a lot of
things, you'll see alot of Univer-
sity of Florida and Billy Dono-
van influence in the way that we
do things. I use both of them a
lot. (I) call them often. I talked
to Billy last night on the phone
just about a couple recruiting
things. Maybe you have some
advice on how to approach this
situation. Or my dad may have
advice. They're so different, but
very similar ... it's helpful for

Wolverines work
way to warm west
By KELLY HALL over the course of the weekend
Daily Sports Writer and will be looking to ruin No. 5
UCLA's perfect record of 16-0.
The Michigan softball team More important than anything
will be starting the Louisville else, Hutchins added, is that the
Slugger Invitational this Friday girls learn to trust one another.
riding a streak of four consecutive "The defense has to have
shutouts. And though the defense confidence in their pitcher; the
has clearly been doing its job, the pitcher has to have confidence in
Wolverines are still struggling to her defense," Hutchins said. "It's
find offensive success. a game of confidence, no ques-
No. 6 Michigan's pitching staff tion."
has kept the opposition locked As the Wolverines delve into
down recently, and its had to - their fourth tournament of the
the Wolverines have been held season, the main focus of the
to just two runs in the past two team seems to be to stay posi-
games. tive at the plate. If Michigan can
"I believe our offense will come learn to rely on their preparation,
around," said Michigan coach Hutchins believes the offense
Carol Hutchins. "Offense comes will be unstoppable.
and goes and it's very contagious But with a chance to break
and we have the ability to be a from the normal grind of a long
good offensive team. We've got to season, some players will get a
find a way to get into a groove and chance to forget about the pres-
just really start swinging the way sure and return home.
we're capable of." Sappingfield, along with junior
Nicole Sappingfield also voiced catcher Lauren Sweet, junior
that the Wolverines' recent quiet left-handed pitcher Haylie Wag-
performances on offense will ner and sophomore shortstop
need to improve, by being more Sierra Romero, are all California
aggressive and trusting their natives.
training, in order to keep up with "I promised to bring them
the competition. The senior out- home to play in front of their
fielder and co-captain has noticed friends and family," Hutchins
that when the leaders on the team said. "There's no question that
are morevocal, the teamresponds there's an air of excitement
with just as much energy. because the Cali kids are excited
The offense is still learning to to go and play in front of their
stay self-assured, but the pitch- people."
ers have no reason to change their Added Sappingfield: "I think
ways. They've thrown 32 con- it's always exciting to play the
secutive scoreless innings. Still, good competition and get out
Hutchins is in no rush to find a under that California sky."
number one, two or three pitcher. The Wolverines will be stay-
"Our job is to just put (the ing in California for the next
pitchers) together and hold the nine days, playing 11 games in
opponents down and we have the total over spring break including
ability to do that when you have another contest against UCLA on
three pitchers that are pretty Wednesday.
quality," Hutchins said. "It's a great time to bond,"
Michigan (12-2) will take on Hutchins said. "We spend nine
Nevada, UCLA, Utah Valley, Long days together, 24/7, and it's really
Beach State and Oregon State a lot of fun."

Top talent to test Bakich and Co.

Daily Sports Writ
Though the Michig
ball team is just two we
its season, it has felt he
multiple times - perhl
two months'worth. This
get any easier for the W
as they head to Cary, N.
Notre Dame Classic.
Michigan (1-5-1) will
game against No. 6 Nor
lina State, Appalachia
Notre Dame and No.191
The Wolverines ente
night's game against N
(7-1) riding a three-ga
ing streak after getting.
Houston, losing each
only one run. But acco
Michigan coach Erik Ba
team isn't hanging its he
"We train mental to
year round, so they're n
to get discouraged just
the results weren't in th
the first two weekends,
said. "They can draw alt
fidence in the simple fac
are one play, one swing, a
and one hit away from be
After they couldn't
break in their earlier ga
Wolverines finally get so
on Friday against the W
originally slated to fac
the nation's top pitcher
projected top-5 draft pit
MLB Draft, Michigan a
face Logan Jernigan.
Jernigan, who still
challenge for
the Wolver-
ines, shouldn't
change up a "VW
game plan for
an otherwise tot
styong team.
'e's not
the only player
on the team,"
said sopho-
more Travis Maezes.
have to go in there witl
approach against him a
a solid plan as a team
attack it."

an base-
eeks into
aps even
ngs won't
C. for the
play one
th Caro-
n State,
r Friday
.C. State
ame los-
swept by
game by
rding to
Lkich, the
tot going
.eir favor
at of con-
t that we
one pitch PAUt
'ing7-0." Sophomore shortstop Travis Maezes will look to capitalize on a pitchingtchange by Norh Carolina State or
catch a Pitching, though, isn't the getting swept by No.13 Cal Poly. Cronenworth is fit
mes, the Wolfpack's only strength. N.C. But UCLA's .500 record is not from an offseason
me relief State has six players hitting over enough to fool Bakich. gery. Cronenworth,
Jolfpack. .300 and has scored more than "I study their program National Collegiat
e one of 10 runs in three games during its because they built their program Writers Association
rs and a current six-game win streak. based on pitching and defense the Year nominee,m
ck in the Bakich noted that slowing the and that's how we want to build aid a struggling bull[
now will Wolfpack's offense will mean not our program as well," Bakich "(Cronenworth)
allowing their three-hitter, Trea said. "In that game, it's going a scrimmage yester
poses a Turner, to get on base. Turner is to be about pitching to contact, looked good," Baki
batting .419 on making the routine plays and the situation presen
the year and timely hitting. They're not going weekend, then we
was named to beat themselves, walk people Jacob Cronenworth
e train mental to Louisville or have a lot of hit-by-pitches or in there and helpu
Slugger's sec- have a lot of errors. It's going to terday was his first
ughness year and team last be a clean game and we're going mage and he looked
season. to do a good job of executing and impressed."
round," But perhaps be aggressive towards our plan." Michigan will h
the biggest One of Michigan's biggest cut out for them t
game of the enigmas this season has been its and the opponents
weekend will bullpen. The Wolverines have toughest yet.
We just come Sunday when the Wolver- had early leads in six of their "We are going to
h a solid ines take the field against reign- seven games, yet the bullpen has fundamentally soun
nd have ing National Champion, UCLA. often failed to maintain it. ton of aggression an
and just The 19th-ranked Bruins (4-4) are Luckily for Michigan, soph- knowing we can bs
coming into the tournament after omore right-hander Jacob that shows up," Baki

nally healed
labrum sur-
a pre-season
e Baseball
's Stopper of
will certainly
pitched in
rday, and he
ich said. "If
nts itself this
will call on
to just jump
us out. Yes-
t live scrim-
d good; I was
ave its work
his weekend
will be its
have to play
ad ball with a
ad confidence
eat any team
ich said.



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